Sunday, January 31, 2016

100th Day Fun

 As I was starting my 100th Day post this sweet picture popped up on my TimeHop -
my daughter Madilynn dressed like a granny on her 100th Day when she was in Kindergarten. 

We had SO MUCH FUN celebrating our 100th day on Friday!

find this adorable freebie here

Some of our favorite "100" songs:

I challenged the students to read and write 100 words during free choice. 
I think we ended up with over 200 words - and the students included words like
bacon. ;)

 Check out more of our 100th Day fun here:

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There are SO many fun ideas for the 100th day -it's hard to choose!

Monday, January 18, 2016

7 Takeaways from the Ohio Kindergarten Teacher Conference

This year I have been working hard to finish my 30 semester hours beyond my master's degree. 
I am almost there! 

 I really have enjoyed the classes I have taken, but have also been on the hunt for some other great professional development opportunities.

Specifically, I wanted to learn from other teachers who were eager to share their tried and true ideas, research based practices, and more. 

Thursday and Friday I attended the
The Ohio Kindergarten Teacher Conference.

I had the opportunity to learn from

Cara Carroll

Dan Brassell

Pete Harry

Christina DeCarbo 


Here are my favorite takeaways from the conference:

Happy Teachers Produce Happy Kids

Danny Brassell's keynote "Bringing joy back to the classroom" was so inspiring!

Some of my favorite quotes from his presentation:

Take the time to recharge! 

Work will always be there - truly happy teachers have a balance between work and home. 

Sugar over vinegar. :)

Kindess matters. 

Are you a Monday teacher or a Friday teacher?

Sytematic, explict vocabulary instruction is KEY!

Cara was a wonderful presenter!
She was 100% genuine, fun, and super creative. 

She lead a great vocabulary session and shared that "there is a 30 million word gap between professional families and disadvantaged". 

She had tons of amazing ideas for vocabulary instruction. 

We should be incorporating vocabulary into 
read alouds
shared reading
guided reading
morning message
anchor charts
and more!

Cara gives her students practice with vocabulary by having them read, write, sing, demonstrate, discuss, and sort these special words.
Ahh, I have some work to do!

Click on the pictures below to read about some of the ideas on her blog:

 Cara also raved about this book:

I have been busy adding vocabulary instruction ideas on this board:

I am ready to dig a little deeper into vocabulary with my growing readers!

Choose one or two practices that make a difference in student learning. 
And then get really good at them. 

Christina DeCarbo presented on small group reading strategies. 

I absolutely love this part of our day. 
My kindergarten friends are OVER THE TOP excited about reading groups this year. 
Makes my teacher heart so darn happy!

Christina shared so many ideas and strategies...
 but stressed to choose just two and work hard to get really great at them.

The two focus areas that I have chosen to focus on over the next few weeks is: 

sight word instruction



Why these two?
With sight words making up 50-65% of texts, I must help my students master these to be confident, fluent readers.

I chose retelling because I noticed that many of my readers are so close to moving to a new level - but are being held up due to their retelling. 

Check out my guided reading board for more ideas that inspire me:

Use technology, movement, and music in 
the classroom daily.

Oh my goodness, Pete Harry
 (HarryKindergarten) is amazing. 

When he handed me his camera and asked me to take pictures throughout his session I was all like


Just kidding... 
kind of.

Pete and Danny both stressed the importance of  engaging our students with music and technology. 

Here are some tech/music resources that I love:

Raz Kids

Harry Kindergarten Music

National Geographic Kids


Class Dojo

Cara shared this one for keeping classroom volume in check:

Bouncy Balls

Always be the novice.


Ask questions.
Go to PD opportunities.

Keeping this one short and sweet.. 
I will always be eager to learn more - and I hope that I can inspire my kindergarten friends to be life-long learners.

Together we are better!

I loved connecting with other teachers during the conference. We can learn so much from one another. 

I am amazed with how much my teaching grew after connecting with teachers through their blogs, pinterest, and instagram. 

Here are some ways you can connect with me:


Literacy and Laughter - TpT

Find me on pinterest

Final takeaway?
I love my job!

My kiddos were the sweetest when I told them I was going to attend this conference. 

First they begged me not to go... Then they begged me to FaceTime them while I was away. 

Seriously, I love this group!

So sweet. 

While I was reflecting on my conference, my students, my amazing school district, I was overcome with pride and gratitude. 

I am incredibly thankful for having a job that I love. 
My students inspire me daily!!!

Thank you, thank you
 to the presenters who left me feeling 
energized & inspired!